Odisha Police Wednesday confirmed that the half burnt body exhumed from the playground of a private school in Kalahandi district is that of the missing lady teacher who fell prey to a pre-planned murder by the arrested prime accused, the president of the educational institution's managing committee.
The woman teacher was killed by the school president in his car on October 8 on their way from Bhawanipatna and Kegaon, DIG of northern range Deepak Kumar told a press conference in Bolangir town.
This was ascertained by the oral, material, technical and scientific evidences, accounts of eyewitness and confessional statements of the accused, he said.
The half burnt and partly decomposed body of the woman was exhumed from 10 feet under the playground of the private school at Mahaling, about 80 km from the Kalahandi district headquarter town of Bhawanipatna, where she taught, on Tuesday 11 days after she went missing.
"The prime accused buried the teacher's body in the school play ground before being half burnt in the darkness. The pit for hiding the body was dug earlier and filled with mud early on October 9," Mr Kumar told reporters.
On the motive behind the crime, he said the school president had a grudge against the lady teacher as she was aware of his two extra-marital affairs and had warned that she would expose him. "He (the prime accused) took revenge".
Mr Kumar said the 24-year-old lady teacher had died due to breathlessness. "It could be a case of strangulation. Immediately after killing her, the accused took her to the school campus where a pit was already dug. He dumped the body and burnt some rubber tyres and card boards before filling the pit with mud," the DIG said adding the body has been sent for forensic tests.
Asked how the police zeroed in on the school play ground from where the body was exhumed on Tuesday, the DIG said the police got the clue from the CCTV footage which was got 40 to 45 km from the school.
"A number of officers verified it for about 70 hours before the police came to know about the murder of the lady teacher."
The police have detained the driver of the vehicle used in the crime and investigation is underway to know the extent of his involvement in the crime, the DIG said.
The school president, who was arrested from a sugarcane field in neighbouring Bolangir district on Tuesday afternoon after the half burnt body was exhumed from 10 feet under the ground of the private school at Mahaling and the police declared Rs one lakh for information leading to his arrest. He was produced before the court of the judicial magistrate at Bangomunda on Wednesday and was remanded to police custody for five days.
Police had announced a cash reward of Rs one lakh for information leading to the arrest of the accused, who had escaped during his detention in the Titlagarh police barrack since October 14.
Meanwhile, both the National Commission for Women (NCW) and the Odisha State Commission for Women (OSCW) have sought reports on the killing of the lady teacher. The NCW has asked the Odisha Director General of Police Abhay to ensure a fair investigation into the matter and directed the state police to provide security to the teacher's family.
The OSCW has also sought a report from the superintendents of police of Bolangir and Kalahandi and asked them to submit their probe a report within 15 days.
"We have asked the SPs to conduct a fair investigation into the case," said SCW chairperson Minati Behera.
The DIG said senior police officers are monitoring the case and the charge sheet will be filed soon. "The case will be put for fast track trial," he added.